Gateron CM vs. KTT Laurel

An in-depth look at the Gateron CM and the KTT Laurel switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron CM and the KTT Laurel, both of which are linear switches. The CM switch stands out with its full nylon housing, offering a unique sound signature that is deeper and richer compared to traditional polycarbonate housings. Additionally, the CM switch provides an impressively smooth typing experience due to its factory lube job, making each keystroke feel like a graceful glide. With its lengthened, dual-staged spring, the CM switch also offers a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the Laurel switch by KTT features a full POM housing, providing a balance between responsiveness and comfort. This switch has a short travel distance and a long pole design, ensuring quick and effortless typing. The Laurel switch also boasts a subtly low-pitched sound profile. While these general pointers give an overview of the benefits of each switch, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the best switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

43g

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

50g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

POM

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Dual-staged 20mm lengthened gold-plated spring

Spring

22m spring

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron CM and the KTT Laurel switches differ in their composition and resulting sound profiles. The CM features a nylon top housing, which creates a deeper and fuller sound when typing. This is because nylon is a softer plastic that absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. On the other hand, the Laurel utilizes a POM top housing. This material produces a unique and pleasing sound that leans towards the deeper side, but with a relatively more muted quality to it.

Moving on to the bottom housing, both the CM and the Laurel have different materials in this area as well. The CM's nylon bottom housing contributes to the switch's deep and full sound profile. With its softer composition, nylon absorbs more sound compared to harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound when typing. Meanwhile, the Laurel boasts a POM bottom housing, which also offers a noticeably deeper sound profile. However, it is relatively more muted compared to the CM's nylon bottom housing.

It is worth noting that when a switch has different top and bottom housings, the qualities of each material will be split between the two parts. The bottom housing has a more prominent influence on the sound and feel when bottoming out a key. On the other hand, the top housing plays a larger role in the sound produced when releasing a key. Although the Gateron CM and the KTT Laurel differ in their housing materials, they both offer a satisfying typing experience with unique sound profiles.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Laurel linear switch, they exhibit distinct differences. The Gateron CM switch has a higher actuation force of 55 grams compared to the Laurel's 43 grams, making it require a slightly stronger push to trigger a keystroke. Similarly, the bottom out force of the CM switch is also heavier at 63.5 grams compared to the Laurel's 50 grams. This means that when typing on the CM switch, users will experience a more substantial typing experience due to the slightly higher forces involved. On the other hand, the Laurel switch provides a lighter typing experience, which can be preferred by individuals looking for a keyboard that allows them to type for longer periods or for those engaged in lengthy gaming sessions. Overall, individuals seeking a lighter typing experience should opt for the Laurel switch, while those desiring a stronger push feel may be more inclined towards the Gateron CM switch.

Travel distance

The Gateron CM linear switch has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the KTT Laurel linear switch has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. Although both switches have relatively short travel distances compared to the traditional 4.0 mm, the Laurel offers a slightly shallower keystroke than the CM. This may make the Laurel more appealing to gamers who prioritize faster response times, as a shorter travel distance allows for quicker key presses. On the other hand, individuals who prefer a more substantial feel when typing may find the CM switch with its slightly longer travel distance more satisfying. Ultimately, the decision between the two switches will depend on personal preference and whether a shorter or longer travel distance is preferred.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron CM has an MSRP of $4.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the CM for $4.25.

The KTT Laurel has an MSRP of $4.42 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Laurel for $3.95.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

In terms of sound, both the Gateron CM and KTT Laurel switches are considered to have a low-pitched sound profile. This means that they produce a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. The CM switches, with their full nylon housing, offer a deeper and richer sound signature, while the Laurel switches have a subtly low-pitched sound profile. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch is also impacted by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

When it comes to feel, the CM switches are described with a variety of positive descriptors. They are considered buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless. These descriptions highlight a smooth and fluid keystroke experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. The CM switches provide a seamless and uniform typing sensation, as if effortlessly gliding across the keys with each keystroke. On the other hand, the Laurel switches are described as snappy, indicating a super responsive typing experience. This responsiveness is likely due to the longer or dual-staged springs in the Laurel switches, which enhance the typing experience and make it feel more alive.

Based on the available information, the Gateron CM switches offer a richer, deeper sound signature with a bouncy typing experience. They provide a smooth and polished feel, ensuring a seamless and effortless typing journey. On the other hand, the KTT Laurel switches strike a balance of responsiveness and comfort, with a subtly low-pitched sound profile. While their specific feel qualities are not mentioned, based on the information provided, it is expected that the Laurel switches offer a snappy typing experience.

In conclusion, the Gateron CM and KTT Laurel switches have their distinct subjective qualities. The CM switches are known for their deep and rich sound signature, along with a buttery, polished, creamy, and frictionless feel. On the other hand, the Laurel switches offer a subtly low-pitched sound profile and a snappy feel. Overall, both switches promise a satisfying and enjoyable typing experience, albeit with different characteristics. Depending on your personal preferences, both switches can provide similar results in terms of sound and feel, delivering a high-quality typing experience.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prioritize a richer, deeper sound signature and a bouncy typing experience, the Gateron CM linear switch would be a great choice for you. With its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, you can expect a smooth and effortless typing journey. The CM offers a bassy, thocky, and low-pitched sound profile, creating a deeper and more satisfying sound during key presses. In terms of feel, the CM provides a buttery, polished, and creamy typing experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter bottom out force and a switch that strikes the perfect balance of responsiveness and comfort, the KTT Laurel linear switch might be more suitable for you. With its full POM housing, short travel, and long pole design, the Laurel offers a subtly low-pitched sound profile. In terms of feel, the Laurel is described as snappy, providing a super responsive typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron CM and KTT Laurel switches depends on your preference for sound, feel, and bottom out force.

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